The Martin City Melodrama & Vaudeville Co., now in its 29th season, has unveiled a brand new, never-seen-before parody called The A-Lone Ranger!
By ROBERT TRUSSELL
The Kansas City Star
You can probably guess what the satirical target is, but the way Martin City founder Jeanne Beechwood describes it, the show is a sort of pop-culture history lesson. You see, the masked man and his faithful Native American companion werent always the subject of mega-budget box office bombs. Once, long ago, the characters appeared on television in modestly budgeted black-and-white half-hour episodes. And before that they appeared on radio when radio was something very different than what it is now.
So the show takes the form of a radio broadcast in which the Martin City actors play radio actors performing a live broadcast. Yes, there is a Western about a guy in a mask as well as a soap opera and more-or-less authentic commercials plugging such products as Sturdy Dog Food, Pepsodent and Wildroot Hair Tonic.
So many people dont understand what radio was, said performer Patrick Reynolds. Its a such a neat medium and a great style of entertainment. Thats what I love about this show its introducing a kind of entertainment thats completely been lost.
Beechwood wrote the script and is co-directing with Cody Goeppner, who also performs in the show.
All of us spent hours and hours listening to old radio shows on the internet as well as some cassette tapes Patrick had, said Beechwood. We just spent hours trying to be true to what it was. The attention span is so much different now. The timing had to be quite a bit faster than it was in the 40s.
Dianne Brown is providing the music and sound effects. And actor Rob Pagenkopf plays an actor playing multiple roles during the broadcast.
Rob can do a million different voices, Beechwood said. In a couple of pages of dialogue he talks to himself as five different characters.
In her spoof of The Lone Ranger, Beechwood decided that disputes should be settled by spitting contests rather than shootouts. Its a Western without guns, in other words.
Thats me making a political statement, she said. They dont believe in guns anymore.
Originally they intended to use stage guns with blank ammunition. But then thought about Martin Citys venue in the Metcalf South Shopping Center and decided that guns and shopping malls arent a good mix.
Each performance runs about 80 minutes, Beechwood said.